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Departments > 51st District Court > Criminal

51st District Court


All criminal cases prosecuted within the Township of Waterford are started at the 51st District Court.  The Court processes misdemeanor and high misdemeanor cases from arraignment through sentencing and felony cases (more serious crimes) from arraignment through preliminary exam.

Criminal cases involve serious offenses that carry possible penalties of fines, costs and/or jail time.  Common misdemeanor cases processed by the Criminal Department include: Drunk Driving, Driving While License Suspended, Retail Fraud, Domestic Violence and Assault and Battery. 

Key Terms & Information

Arraignment:  Defendant is advised of rights, advised of charge, advised of possible penalties, bond is set and a plea may be entered.  The 51st District Court allows for walk-in arraignments Monday-Friday 9:00AM to 11:30AM and in the afternoon 1:30PM to 4:00PM. 

Pre-Trial: An exchange of information between the defense and prosecution.  The defendant may choose to enter a plea at this time or proceed to trial.

Preliminary Exam:  In felony cases, the defendant is entitled to a preliminary examination within 14 days of arraignment.  The purpose of the preliminary exam is for the Judge to determine if there is probable cause that a crime was committed and that the defendant committed the crime.  If probable cause is established, the Judge will then bind the case over to the Oakland County Circuit Court for trial proceedings.

Sentencing:  For misdemeanor cases, at sentencing, a penalty is applied by the Judge for defendants who have been convicted of or plead guilty to a crime.  Possible sentences may include fines, costs, community service, substance abuse treatment, probation and jail time.

Payment: Full payments on criminal and probation fines and costs can be paid online using a major credit card, debit or pre-paid debit card.